The sun was already up, hanging low in the sky as if it had turned up sick for work and didn’t expect to make it through the whole day.
There are two interwoven stories told in alternate chapters.Three friends have bought an property to do up as a B&B in the abandoned village of Hesteyri, which is very hard to get to and isolated. Storms and no electricity add to the spooky atmosphere as they become aware of possible supernatural happenings. At the same time, a psychiatrist in nearby Ísafjörður is coming to terms with his son’s vanishing, and how it could be related to the suicides of several elderly people.
As the book progresses, we find out secrets that have been kept by some of the main protagonists, and the suspense builds. It’s not until right at the end of the book that we find out how these stories are related as they come together very cleverly, making you wonder how the author plotted this all out from the beginning.
I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. Having previously loved the author’s crime fiction, I thought this was even better and I really hope she does more in this genre. The story was genuinely scary and so well written. It would make a great film. I even loved the ending, which can often be a let-down. Some points weren’t entirely clear, but that’s ok.
Trying to think of some negative points, the alternating chapters of two storylines can be a little confusing sometimes and I found myself having to read back and check details. You could also say that as there are several main characters, none of them are as well developed as our old favourite Þora, but these are very minor points.
If you like ghost stories and Iceland, you will love this – go and read it!
On a final note, the cover mentions that the book is “partly based on a true story”. I was curious to know what could have been true from this. You can read a post from Yrsa from what must have been a research trip for this book here to find out more (it doesn’t give away any spoilers or surprises).
I wonder how many will be adding a visit to the abandoned village of Hesteyri to their bucket list after reading this…